Paper Tigers

The brunette is pale and round, and soft, like Jennifer Tilly. She is warm and sad in the fuzzy blue sweater. Hands open, chubby fingers in ring after ring. She is telling us about a man that she once loved. The Syrian. He was lean and dark but his eyes were bottomless wells.

She is a poet, and that’s why we are listening to a woman talk of things that we know nothing about. Or maybe we do. She is here to read from her new collection, to share words that might touch our hearts and minds. We will all sip wine and nibble on tapas and jot contemplative notes on our tablets. We will be enriched and inspired and empowered to overcome many obstacles.

We are all watching each other, the way women do even when we say we don’t. We eat each other alive. It’s all solidarity until there’s a competition, for poetry, or carbs, or who’s the least racist, or for some guy.

In the days when I was still finding myself, I would have crushed hard on this particular poet, and maybe I still could. Her hands are mewling kittens, roly-poly, blind, and beautiful. People collect things. Memories, trinkets, monuments, trophies. I had a few refugees of my own. I picture her hands smoothing the ruffles, the fractures, the fires, between the worlds. War and peace. I lean in close, listening harder, I’m reading between the lines.

Lorette C. Luzajic is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review, an online journal dedicated to writing inspired by art. Her own poetry has appeared in several hundred online and print publications, including Indelible, Wild Word, Nine Muses Poetry, Misfit Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Black Coffee Review, Heart of Flesh, and more. She was twice nominated last year for a Pushcart Prize, as well as for Best of the Net. She is currently at work on her fifth collection of poetry, her second ekphrastic book. Visit her at

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